How an obsession with Cristiano Ronaldo helped a YouTube sensation purchase stunning $10m mansion: IShowSpeed is the streamer who has risen to stardom on the Portugal icon’s coattails and now has a superhome – complete with gym and wine cellar
- YouTube star IShowSpeed showed off lavish new mansion in a recent live stream
- The 18-year-old has shot rapidly shot to fame for his obsession with Ronaldo
- It’s All Kicking Off: Jack Grealish has lost his zip… we need him to get it back
Youtuber and Cristiano Ronaldo devotee IShowSpeed revealed his new lavish $10million home last week.
‘What’s good, YouTube, y’all. I finally bought myself a house up here in my hometown, you know what I am saying,’ the 18-year-old said before leading a guided tour through the mansion.
Speed, born Darren Watkins Jr, showed off a pair of grand dressing rooms, a giant bed, an even bigger bath – which concealed a luxurious walk-in shower – and that was just his bedroom.
The Ohio native has gone from complete obscurity to international celebrity in a little over two years thanks to his bombastic style in streams viewed by millions.
And his obsession with the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Ronaldo has been key to him becoming a social media star, while pocketing millions in the process.
IShowSpeed was handed an invite to last month’s Ballon d’Or ceremony hosted in Paris
IShowSpeed showed off his new lavish home in an almost five-hour live stream last week
The 18-year-old claimed that the property, located in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, cost $10million to purchase
Speed uploaded his first-ever Youtuber video in 2017, a one-and-a-half minute clip of himself performing dribble moves in NBA 2K 2018. It included no commentary and was a far cry from what his content would become.
These type of videos soon made way for Fortnite streams, which allowed him to hone his unique persona.
Then, after amassing an impressive following on the platform, the youngster began an intense advocacy of the then-Man United forward Ronaldo.
Speed’s content rapidly grew as he launched staunch defences of the Portuguese striker’s GOAT case , derided his old rival Lionel Messi and popped up at sporting events around the world as he made it his mission to meet to his hero.
At the Sideman charity game in September 2022, the social media rising star scored a goal – which was ruled out – and proceeded to replicate Ronaldo’s famous ‘siu’ celebration.
He adopted the Red Devils as his Premier League team and even joined Geoff Shreeves and the Sky Sports touchline crew at the side’s clash against Fulham at Craven Cottage in November 2022.
Speed had been planning to meet the star in west London that night and was characteristically over the top in his dejected reaction to the news that Ronaldo was not present. Shreeves chuckled to himself in the corner.
In this period the American established himself as the world’s No 1 Ronaldo fan, the prominent at the very least, and he leveraged his newfound fame in live streams that attracted more and more viewers.
IShowSpeed turned up for Manchester United’s clash with Fulham in 2022 hoping to meet his idol
The Youtube star live streamed himself getting a tattoo of the Portuguese icon’s face
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One of his most famous videos captures him reacting to highlights of Messi during his peak years at Barcelona. The youngster looked conflicted and appeared to reckon with his derision of the Argentine great as he witnessed his brilliance.
‘Nah I’m tripping, f*** this n****. Ronaldo better! Ronaldo better.’ He bellowed after quickly coming back to his senses.
Much of his content surrounding the 38-year-old adopts a similar tone and in truth, it is nearly impossible to concluded whether his dedication is an act or a ploy to get more viewers.
Though in reality, it does not matter. Speed primarily posts highlights of his streams to his channel Live Speedy which has amassed 7.53m subscribers. His main channel, IShowSpeed, has 21.7m.
In the last year his Ronaldo content has ranged from him videos titled ‘IShowSpeed Reacts to Ronaldo Shouting Him Out’ to ‘IShowSpeed Gets a Ronaldo Tattoo’. And yes, he really did get the forward’s face inked onto his left arm with the entire process streamed live to adoring fans.
His sheer dedication eventually got him noticed by a host of footballing stars, themselves heavily invested in internet celebrities and viral social media content. One of his most consequential link-ups, with respect to his quest to meet Ronaldo, came with his connection to AC Milan forward Rafael Leao.
The Portugal international first appeared in a IShowSpeed video late last year when, during a Facetime call with the teenager, Leao confirmed that his illustrious team-mate was very familiar with him.
‘You know sometimes like in the training, I come to him and I say “Sewey” and he says the same thing,’ Leao told an ecstatic Speed, who had released a song appropriately called Ronaldo [Sewey].
By this point Speed had made several unsuccessful attempts to meet Ronaldo, including visiting Old Trafford twice from the US, and going to Qatar for the World Cup.
Speed received confirmation from Ronaldo’s Portugal teammate Rafael Leao that the forward was well aware of who he was
He finally managed to meet the Al-Nassr striker at Portugal’s game against Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Estadio da Luz in June
But Leao would prove crucial in essentially brokering a meeting a between the pair a few months later.
At Portugal’s 3-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina in June, Speed finally met his idol in the carpark of the Estadio da Luz and made sure not to waste a synchronised ‘siu’ opportunity with the footballing icon.
The six minute video of the interaction racked up a staggering 16m views on Youtube. In total, according to financial outlet Money Made, Speed earns around $2.2m (£1.8m) annually from his output on the platform alone.
That’s not to mention his mega following on other social media websites including Snapchat and TikTok, where his main account has a following of 23.1m.
That popularity has been fuelled by his association with Ronaldo and last week’s real estate reveal proved the lucrative rewards that have come with his astute social media positioning.
In addition to the amenities he showed off at the beginning of his mansion tour, Speed also gave his viewers a peak into his stunning front room, a wine cellar he mistook for a cave and a home gym.
The walkaround concluded with a trip outside to his huge swimming pool, which he performed a backflip into to end the video.
Unfortunately, the open access brings danger. On Monday, while in the middle of a stream, Speed was interrupted by a SWAT team who performed a forced entry into his property.
Speed has become one of the most recognisable faces on the internet in the past few years
He was not shy about putting his new surroundings on full display as he gave viewers an insight into his new home
The youngster was in characteristically animated form as he conducted the walkaround which included his huge en suite bathroom and home gym
The dangerous online practice called swatting, normally involves nefarious viewers erroneously contacting emergency agencies and alleging a crime is taking place at the location of the celebrity live streaming.
It was not the first time Speed had been a victim of the stunt. He said on social media afterwards: ‘That’s f***ed up. Don’t ever do that again in your life, bro. I could have really died. I had guns to my face. Don’t ever do that again.’
Still only 18 and with the kind of influence that saw him rubbing shoulders with football’s elite at last month’s Ballon d’Or, Speed is likely to be a prominent face on social media for years to come.
But with Ronaldo exiting the main stage, will an Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappe rebrand prove to be as monetarily successful? Speed might be showing off a $50m complex constructed as a quasi-temple to the Norwegian in no time.
What ever he goes on to do, his rapid rise aided by his Ronaldo devotion has startling to witness.
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